Richard Roberts treadle operated ornamental lathe with various accessories, made arround 1817 - 1823, Manchester.
This is a very early example of a Lathe made by Richard Roberts.
Lathes rotate a piece of wood or metal so that it can be shaped by a cutting tool. This lathe, powered by a foot operated pedal, could work larger pieces of metal at greater speeds and with greater accuracy than ever before.
Lathes are the first recorded machine tools. Machine tools make metal and wood parts for other machines. Manchester led the world in creating machine tools in the mid-nineteenth century.
In 1816, after two years working with Henry Maudslay, Roberts moved to Manchester and established his own business. He had learnt the importance of accuracy from Maudslay, taking this to new levels through his own machine tools.
Roberts was a highly inventive engineer and inventor who led the way for production and precision engineering. He built a wide range of machine tools and also pioneered standard gauges. His designs contributed significantly to the process of mechanisation. His machine tools helped the growth of factories, the textile industry and railways.
This example may have been a workshop or showroom demonstration model, or kept by an engineering ethusiast or collector, as there is very little wear, the machine has clearly not been used extensively throughout its long lifetime.